reef safe sunscreen

What is Reef Safe Sunscreen? See Through The Greenwashing!

Using Natural Sunscreen is now more than just health—it’s a global movement for eco-preservation. “Reef Safe Sunscreen is the hottest trend!

Did you know traditional sunscreens are quietly harming coral reefs?

Over 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the oceans yearly, with many chemical sunscreen ingredients causing coral bleaching—  just one drop of sunscreen can contaminate up to 6.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of ocean water.

Specific chemical sunscreen ingredients in Hawaii and Key West are now banned to safeguard our reefs. So let’s find out why…

Article at a Glance:

What is Reef Safe Sunscreen?

How to Choose The Right Reef Safe Sunscreen

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Amplify Your Impact Beyond Sunscreen Choice

Skorcha is Proud to Be Reef Safe

Reef Safe Sunscreen

What is Reef Safe Sunscreen?

To ensure a product is truly reef-safe, it must meet strict standards. Initially, it meant avoiding oxybenzone and octinoxate, but now, more ingredients are off-limits. 

These harmful chemicals can harm coral through coral bleaching when they enter the ocean. However, being reef-safe goes beyond avoiding certain elements. 

It’s a commitment to protecting marine life and reducing the environmental impact of sunscreen. 

Reef-safe mineral sunscreen is specially crafted to shield you from the sun without harming the ocean. These sunscreens physically block UV rays without damaging chemicals using non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Why You Should Know The Sunscreen Ingredients That Are Killing Our Coral Reefs

reef safe sunscreen

 Coral reefs, our ocean’s vibrant wonders, are under threat from an unexpected source:  sunscreen

Applying sunscreen before swimming, a seemingly harmless act, has dire consequences for these marine ecosystems and our health. 

Many are unaware of the damaging ingredients in their sunscreen, causing significant harm to coral reefs. It’s urgent for you to become informed and help make a change.

  • Consider Your Health: Ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate not only harm coral reefs but can also disrupt human hormones and absorb into the bloodstream, posing additional health risks.
  • Protect the Ocean:  Sunscreen chemicals transfer to the ocean when you swim, damaging reefs and marine life. Approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen pollute oceans annually.
  • Choose Reef-Safe Sunscreens:  Help protect marine environments by selecting sunscreens without harmful chemicals. Look for “reef-safe” labels to make a difference. Careful of potentially misleading “reef friendly” or “Hawaii Reef Compliant” labels.
  • Support Sustainable Practices:  Choosing reef-safe products encourages the industry to develop sustainable formulas, reducing the ecological impact on marine ecosystems and promoting environmental responsibility.

Hawaii Sunscreen Ban

Hawaii  took a groundbreaking step to protect its marine ecosystems by banning sunscreens with harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate in 2021. 

These ingredients are known to cause coral bleaching and harm marine life. This move has not only safeguarded Hawaii’s coral reefs but also set a trend for environmental protection worldwide.

Following this example,  Palau and areas such as  Key West, Florida, and the  U.S. Virgin Islands have introduced similar bans. These regions are taking a stand to preserve their marine biodiversity by restricting chemicals dangerous to coral reefs.

It’s time to switch to eco-friendly alternatives that protect our oceans while safeguarding your skin. Join the movement towards sustainable living and help protect our planet’s precious marine ecosystems.

How to Choose The Right Reef Safe Sunscreen

Consider the following steps:

1. Inspect Sunscreen Ingredients: Understand what’s in your sunscreen to ensure it’s safe for reefs.

2. Consider Sensitive Skin: Choose formulas that cater to skin sensitivities.

3. Evaluate Protection Levels: Assess the sunscreen’s effectiveness against UV rays.

4. Examine Brand Ethics: Research the brand’s commitment to environmental and ethical standards.

Armed with these guidelines, you’ll never have to guess if you’ve chosen the right reef safe sunscreen ever again!

1. Inspect Sunscreen Ingredients

This is your first step towards finding the right Reef Safe Sunscreen. 

Always read the product label to check for any of the following harmful ingredients.

These are known to harm the coral reefs. Instead, look for sunscreens with non nano zinc oxide.

organic sunscreen labels

2. Consider Sensitive Skin

 Reef Safe Sunscreens  are a game-changer for those with sensitive skin, thanks to their gentle, mineral-based ingredients like  zinc oxide  and  titanium dioxide 

Unlike chemical sunscreens, these form a protective layer on top of your skin without sinking in, reducing irritation and making them perfect for sensitive types.

Plus, they’re ocean-friendly. Choose  hypoallergenic and fragrance-free  options to minimize the chance of allergic reactions, making these sunscreens kind to both your skin and the environment.

Reef Safe Sunscreen  means you’re protecting your skin and the marine ecosystems with ingredients that are gentle on sensitive skin.

3. Evaluate Protection Levels

When picking sunscreen, check its  SPF level; the higher, the better it protects against UVB rays. But don’t ignore  UVA rays

Choose a  broad-spectrum  sunscreen for all-around protection. For eco-friendly coverage, use a reef-safe mineral sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide

It’s safe for coral reefs and offers top-notch protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Organic Face Sunscreen Tinted Mineral SPF 50

(80 customer reviews)
Original price was: AU$40.00.Current price is: AU$34.99.

Hydrating, antioxidant-boosted natural face sunscreen crafted for adventure and endurance sports.

4. Brand Ethics Examination

Investigate the ethos of the sunscreen brand you support. 

Choose brands like Skorcha, who not only commits to environmental conservation but also pledges to plant one mangrove tree for every product sold. 

This dedication to sustainability and the ethical sourcing of ingredients reflects a company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, significantly impacting our planet’s health. 

Educating yourself on a brand’s environmental efforts, like Skorcha’s initiative, can guide your choices towards more responsible consumption.

Reef-friendly vs Reef Safe – Watch Out For Greenwashing!

Reef Safe vs Reef Friendly Sunscreen

We’re committed to full transparency and honesty. Many sunscreen brands label their products as “reef friendly,” but often, they only avoid the most notorious toxic chemicals. 

Our previous blog post offers more insight into this. However, many still contain substances harmful to both our health and marine ecosystems. Ignoring the impact of these ingredients wouldn’t align with our values.

The truth is that ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene are common in so-called “reef-friendly” sunscreens, but they’re far from harmless. It’s crucial to understand the real effects of these ingredients.

 Be vigilant and read labels carefully.  As informed consumers, it’s your responsibility to demand truly reef-safe products. At Skorcha, we believe in a clear standard:  reef-safe means using only non-nano zinc oxide as the active ingredient. 

Beware of products that highlight zinc oxide on the front but hide harmful chemicals on the back label. A long list of unpronounceable ingredients usually signals a product that’s bad for you and the environment. The best formulas are simple, ideally with just one active ingredient.

Educate yourself and set high standards for reef safety.  Remember, genuine reef-safe products protect both your health and marine life.

Organic Face Sunscreen Tinted Mineral SPF 50

(80 customer reviews)
Original price was: AU$40.00.Current price is: AU$34.99.

Hydrating, antioxidant-boosted natural face sunscreen crafted for adventure and endurance sports.

Popular Sunscreen Brands That Are Not Reef Safe

Image from The Hawaii Vacation Guide

In our pursuit of protecting the health of our oceans, many choose sunscreens labelled as “reef-friendly,” hoping to positively impact marine ecosystems. 

Yet, the validity of these claims often remains unquestioned, leaving consumers unaware of the actual environmental impact of their sunscreen choices.

Let’s illuminate the truth behind popular sunscreen brands and their eco-friendly claims. 

Is Banana Boat Reef Safe?

Is Banana Boat Reef Safe?

Let’s look at Banana Boat, who have made “reef-friendly” claims. 

Unfortunately, a closer investigation into their ingredient lists reveals a troubling truth. Despite their eco-conscious marketing, many of Banana Boat’s sunscreen products contain  avobenzene, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene

These chemicals are known for their adverse effects on coral reefs and marine life, contributing to the degradation of these vital ecosystems.

The presence of these ingredients in products labelled as “reef-friendly” is misleading for consumers who are trying to make environmentally responsible choices. 

Brands like Banana Boat endanger marine life and erode consumer trust by allowing these harmful chemicals under a “reef-friendly” guise. This is a clear example of why rigorous scrutiny and a demand for transparency in product labelling are essential for truly protecting our planet’s marine biodiversity.

Is Sun Bum Reef Safe?

Is Sun Bum Reef Safe?

Sun Bum is a brand claiming to offer “reef-friendly” products. Yet, a closer look at their ingredients reveals a troubling truth. 

Despite their eco-friendly marketing, many of Sun Bum’s sunscreens contain  avobenzene, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene —chemicals known to harm coral reefs and marine life, damaging these vital habitats.

This issue is alarming, especially since Sun Bum’s FAQ section suggests they avoid calling their products “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe,” contradicting their marketing. 

Labelling harmful products as “reef-friendly” misleads consumers trying to make environmentally friendly choices, showing a significant gap between marketing and reality. This calls for stricter regulations on “reef-safe” products and emphasizes the importance of consumer awareness in evaluating such claims.

By promoting products containing harmful chemicals as safe for the environment, Sun Bum not only threatens marine ecosystems but also consumer trust. 

This situation highlights the urgent need for stricter scrutiny and transparency in product labeling to protect our oceans’ biodiversity.

Is Coola Reef Safe?

Is Coola Reef Safe?

Despite the “reef friendly” labels on Coola sunscreens, it’s important to scrutinize these claims carefully.

It’s essential to know that even ingredients listed in “reef-friendly” products need a closer look.  Understanding the true impact of these substances on health and the environment is crucial.

 Be vigilant in examining product labels. At Skorcha, reef-safe means using only non-nano zinc oxide. Be cautious of products claiming to use zinc oxide but also include other harsh chemicals.

Coola’s “Farm to Face” and “70% Organic” labels seem like an interesting angle for the marketing of sunscreen products stuffed with potential hormone disruptors that may bleach coral reefs. Appealing marketing does not always guarantee safety.

Educate yourself and insist on genuine reef safety.  Authentic reef-safe products protect your health and marine biodiversity.

Is Neutrogena Reef Safe?

Is Neutrogena Reef Safe?

Although Neutrogena does not label its products as reef-safe, they dispute the assertion that ingredients like oxybenzone damage marine ecosystems, arguing there’s insufficient evidence and label it as myth!

It’s important to be aware of substances such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone in Neutrogena products; understanding their potential environmental impact is key.

Be thorough in reviewing product labels. Choosing genuinely reef-safe products is crucial for the protection of marine life. At Skorcha, we define reef-safe as including non-nano zinc oxide and excluding harmful chemicals.

Neutrogena’s marketing strategies may not fully reflect the environmental implications of their products. It’s vital to remember that effective marketing does not necessarily mean a product is safe for the environment or your health.

Wrapping Up and My Stance on Reef Safe Sunscreen

 In conclusion, as the founder of  Skorcha Organic Suncare, I want to highlight the critical importance of choosing reef-safe sunscreens to protect our marine ecosystems and our health. Our blog has revealed the misleading “greenwashed” claims of some sunscreens that are not truly reef-friendly. As consumers, it’s our duty to carefully check product labels and make choices that benefit our planet and ourselves.

At  Skorcha, our environmental commitment goes beyond our natural sunscreen formulationsWe plant a mangrove tree for every bottle sold, supporting coastal protection, marine biodiversity, and carbon sequestration to combat climate change. This reflects our belief that businesses must actively engage in environmental preservation, just as we advocate for reef-safe sunscreen.

By choosing  Skorcha, you’re protecting your skin and joining a movement to save our oceans and promote a healthier planet.

 Remember, our choices today shape the future health of our oceans. Be vigilant, question boldly, and choose reef-safe sunscreens.  Together, we can make a difference for our oceans and our health.

Why you can trust us:

  • Real-World Experience: Mick founded Skorcha Organic Suncare to provide effective organic and natural suncare products based on his 10 years of working under the sun as a roofer and door-to-door salesman.
  • Self-Testing: We live and breathe suncare and everything related to taking care of your skin under the sun. If we haven’t tried it ourselves, we have researched it thoroughly.
  • Continuous Learning : Always learning about the power of natural ingredients for suncare and our skin health.

Want to know more? Visit our store


How to tell if sunscreen is reef safe?

To determine if a sunscreen is reef safe, check its list of ingredients. Reef safe sunscreens avoid harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are known to damage coral reefs. Instead, they use mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are not only safe for underwater ecosystems, but they also provide excellent protection against UV rays. Additionally, look for labels indicating the sunscreen is “reef-safe” or “reef-friendly”. However, keep in mind not all products with these labels are genuinely reef safe, so it’s always best to check the ingredients.

What sunscreen is OK for coral reefs?

There are several sunscreens that are safe for coral reefs, usually marketed as “reef-safe” or “reef-friendly”. These sunscreens lack harmful chemicals like Oxybenzone or Octinoxate that are known to damage coral reefs. Instead, they are made with minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that physically block the sun’s rays, rather than absorbing them.

Does Australia have reef safe sunscreen?

Yes, Australia does offer a selection of reef safe sunscreens. These sunscreens are formulated without chemicals that can harm coral reefs and marine life, making them an eco-friendly choice for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Whether you’re swimming, snorkelling, or simply spending a day at the beach, these sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection while ensuring our oceans stay healthy and vibrant. Keep in mind to always look for “reef safe” or “reef friendly” labels when choosing your sunscreen.

What Cannot be in reef safe sunscreen?

In the creation of reef safe sunscreens, certain ingredients should be avoided as they can cause harm to our delicate marine life. These harmful ingredients include:

  1. Oxybenzone & Octinoxate: Both are known for their high toxicity in aquatic life and have been banned in multiple parts of the world.
  2. Nano Particles: Make sure your mineral sunscreens are labelled “Non Nano” so can’t absorb these ingredients
  3. Parabens: These are used as preservatives but are harmful to coral and other marine organisms.
  4. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate): It accelerates coral bleaching.
  5. Any form of Microplastic spheres: These are tiny plastic particles that fish mistake for food.

Remember, when choosing a sunscreen, always go for ‘Reef Safe’ labeled products. Our choices can significantly impact the preservation of coral reefs and marine life.

What is the best reef friendly sunscreen in Australia?

Skorcha Organic Suncreen!

Mick Wadley

Mick Wadley – Founder of Skorcha

After a decade in the scorching sun as a roofer and going door-to-door in sales – I was forced to take my skin health seriously following a skin cancer scare before the age of 30.

So began my passion for suncare, which is both effective and natural. Crafted for adventure and endurance sports, Skorcha formulas are non-greasy, have no eye sting and absolutely no bullshit (100% Organic).

My goal is to share what I’ve learned about skin health and safe ingredients, inspiring happier, healthier lives through adventure, organic goodness and conservation!

Help us plant a mangrove tree with every Skorcha product sold to protect fragile marine ecosystems and support underprivileged communities around the world.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is the responsibility of you and your healthcare providers to make all decisions regarding your health. Skorcha recommends that you consult with your healthcare providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition.